Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sharks acquire Campbell

I'm speechless. Acquiring Brian Campbell without giving up any of Patrick Marleau, Devin Setoguchi or Matt Carle is absolute magic by Doug Wilson. As Mike Chen points out at Battle of California, this might be the first time in franchise history the Sharks have a legitimate #1 defenseman in his prime. I know, I know, Campbell isn't exactly Nicklas Lidstrom in his own zone, but he instanly becomes the only Sharks defenseman who can singlehandedly rush the puck up ice, launch precision outlet passes to hopefully ignite our slumping forwards and provide a dominant power play presence. Speaking of the Sharks' woefully stagnant man advantage, it is likely to now do a complete 180 with the advent of the man they call "Soupy." Oh, and he hits. And boy does he hit.

As for the player going the other way, Steve Bernier will be somewhat missed in the interim between this transaction and the return of Ryane Clowe from injury, as Bernier is one of the only non-Clowe forwards on the roster who can sustain a consistent forecheck. But consistency in and of itself was always the problem with Bernier, who seems to have progressively regressed since his rookie season. I wish him the best in Buffalo, but his frequent scoring slumps and defensive ineptitude really had no place in San Jose. There's been some talk as to Campbell receiving an extension and even though we've yet to see him in a Sharks jersey, I think DW needs to bite the bullet. Even if he receives Dan Boyle money ($6.5 million), San Jose will remain under the cap for next season, it's solely a question of how much ownership is willing to spend.

In other Sharks moves, Rob Davison was shipped to the Islanders for a 5th round draft pick and former Philadelphia and Phoenix netminder Brian Boucher was signed to back up Evgeni Nabokov and allow Thomas Greiss to develop in Worcester.

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Trade Deadline Breakdown

--You could argue that the Sharks were forced into the Campbell deal by the Stars' steal of a deal, flipping Jussi Jokinen, Jeff Halpern and Mike Smith to Tampa for Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist. Richards is the playoff warrior the Stars need, but at $7.8 million a year with a horrendous plus-minus and point totals that have been mediocre since 05-06? Still, this trade was all about this season and as far as that goes, Dallas now has a top line of Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro and Antti Miettinen followed by a unit comprised of Mike Modano, Brad Richards and Jere Lehtinen. God, I hate the Stars.

--The Penguins nabbed the proverbial big fish of the deadline, acquiring Marian Hossa. Just think about it. Crosby and Hossa. Together. This move also allows the Penguins to move Malkin to his rightful position of center when Sid returns. In a crappy Eastern Conference, Pittsburgh looks to be on the rise. The return, however, was far steeper than I imagined. Erik Christensen and Colby Armstrong are both young, serviceable forwards and Angelo Esposito is one of the Penguins' top prospects. Add a first rounder and you've got a pretty good return if you're a Thrashers fan. Still, the thought of Hossa playing with Crosby must have had Pens GM Ray Shero salivating.

--You can bet the Toronto media will have a Leafs roast tomorrow. With none of Mats Sundin, Tomas Kaberle, Bryan McCabe, Jason Blake, Pavel Kubina and Darcy Tucker changing addresses, the Leafs are likely to spend several season to come in mediocreville.

--The Washington Capitals may have won the whole trade deadline with two rather under-the-radar moves. Goaltending has been their main issue this season, but they shored that up by stealing Cristobal Huet from Montreal in a deal I really don't understand from a Canadiens perspective -- yes, he's an impending UFA, but how far will the Habs get with 20-year-old Carey Price in net? -- and also picked up a Michael Nylander replacement in Sergei Fedorov, giving up just a 2nd rounder for Huet and prospect Ted Ruth for Fedorov. Seriously, GM George McPhee deserves an award or something.

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